2001 Kolkata Test: Shane Warne blames ‘adamant’ Steve Waugh; reveals what they spoke on field
Southampton: Spin legend Shane Warne has recalled the epic India-Australia Test in Kolkata in 2001 when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid staged one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the five-day game. Warne has revealed what transpired on the field and why captain Steve Waugh decided to enforce the follow-on at Eden Gardens.
After following on, India, with 274 runs in arrears, were saved by Laxman (281) and Dravid’s (180) mammoth 376-run stand.
Laxman was in full flow against all the bowlers, including Warne.
Later, in the run chase, it was offspinner Harbhajan Singh, who weaved his magic to give India a 171-run victory to square the three-match rubber 1-1.
In the third and decisive Test in Chennai, India won again to claim the series 2-1.
That series is one of the glorious moments in Indian cricket history. Laxman is remembered for that epic knock in Kolkata. At the time, it was India’s highest individual Test score.
During the ongoing England-Pakistan Test in Southampton, Warne spoke about the 2001 Kolkata Test and blamed Waugh for being “adamant”.
“It was 45 degrees (in Kolkata) and we’d been out in the field for a long time. The wicket was going to get worse. I think at that time, I remember Steve Waugh coming up to us bowlers - Gillespie, McGrath, myself and Kasprowicz,” Warne said on Sky Sports during commentary.
“As we had them seven down, eight down, nine down, Steve came up and went ‘Hey! How you feeling?’. McGrath was like ‘I’m a bit weary. I was like... weary, let’s use that word. Kasprowicz was like ‘I’m ready to go skip’ and I was like, ‘Come on, Kaspa’,” he added.
“Steve was adamant that he wanted to win that record amount of Test matches in a row, I think it was 17,” Warne said.
“To me, it was the only way India could win the Test match. If we go and bat again and make the 200 - the lead was 450 (474) - they try to defend it, it’s a different game. So yeah, I think he got that wrong.”
Warne and Waugh don’t share a cordial relationship. In his autobiography, Warne had termed Waugh as the “most selfish” cricketer that he ever played with.